Main opposition Kuomintang Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that a key bill related to a major arms procurement package from the United States must be settled in the next legislative session.
Ma made the remarks at KMT headquarters during a meeting with a group of foreign dignities visiting Taiwan to attend the January 23 World Freedom Day activities.
Ma confirmed that he met Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) Wednesday and that they exchanged opinions on the arms purchase bill and a disputed nomination list for Control Yuan members submitted by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) that also remains pending legislative approval.
According to Ma, Wang shared his view that the two issues should be resolved in the next legislative session through negotiations with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and its ally, the Taiwan Solidarity Union.
But common ground on the two matters must be first found within the KMT, and the party will make public its own military procurement policy in February or March after relevant details have been elaborated upon and decided by the party's legislative caucus, he said.
As it would be an important step for the KMT to bring an end to the highly controversial weapons procurement bill issue at the Legislative Yuan, the party will fix a timetable for this purpose and seek negotiations with the DPP and the TSU in the next session.
According to the KMT chairman, this is also what he told Douglas Paal, outgoing director of the Taipei office of the American Institute in Taiwan, during a meeting early this week.
Commenting on the arms procurement package and the president's Control Yuan member nomination list later the same day, Wang, who is an influential figure in the KMT, confirmed that he did meet Ma and discussed the two bills with him Wednesday. Wang expressed the hope that the KMT will come up with clear policies regarding the two issues in the next legislative session after it opens February 21.
He hailed the KMT's "willingness and efforts to help" the ruling party break the impasse over the two issues at the Legislative Yuan, saying that whatever results might be produced will mean a conclusion to the disputes and help stabilize the political situation.